Giuseppe Verdi 1813-1901
Rigoletto, together with Il trovatore and La traviata, laid the foundations for Verdi's worldwide renown; the latter two operas were composed shortly after Rigoletto. The opera is based upon Victor Hugo's play Le roi s'amuse, a work that had fascinated Verdi for a long time. Once again Verdi came into conflict with the censor: to depict a king as a libertine on stage was absolutely forbidden. Once, however, the time and place of the action were changed, the king was demoted to a duke and another character, the court jester Rigoletto was allotted the title role, nothing could stand in the way of the opera's triumphal progress. Rigoletto is depicted as a split personality, a man who at one moment can organise his master's amorous amusements without any scruples at all, and who at another is a loving father to his own daughter. Verdi's orchestral score is full of contrasts and imagination; it has been liberated from simply providing an accompaniment to the singers.
The sobbing laugh of Rigoletto the jester, the suffering of the gypsy Azucena and Violetta's rejection by society -- piece by piece these are the tragedies of people driven into direst straits by fate, people who are destroyed by their battle with all that surrounds them. A deep compassion with the oppressed is inherent in all of Verdi's works.
Il duca di Mantova — Joseph Calleja
Rigoletto — Anthony Michaels-Moore
Gilda — Cinzia Forte
Sparafucile — Mario Luperi
Maddalena — Graciela Araya
Giovanna — Menai Davies
Il conte di Monterone — Alan Ewing
Marullo — Roberto Accurso
Borsa — Roberto Covatta
Il conte di Ceprano — Roger Smeets
La contessa — Mariette Oelderik
Paggio della duchessa — Anneleen Bijnen
Musical Direction — Daniele Callegari
Direction — Monique Wagemakers
Click here for a synopsis of the opera.
Click here for an interview of Joseph Calleja.
Click here for production photographs.